Letters to Omar – Rachel Wyatt
Picking up random books is one of the things I like most about going to the library. I walk through the aisles and let my hands guide me. This time around, I was drawn to an 85-year old English-Canadian author, who writes about friendship, aging, and family in such a unique way. Wyatt uses letters, monologues and dreams to convey the story of three elderly friends: Dorothy, Kate and Elsie who coin themselves TEWP (Three Elderly Women with a Purpose) as they set out to organize fundraising dinners in support of a remote village in Afghanistan.
The narrative centers on the planning of the inaugural dinner, which turns out to be a complete fiasco! Call it forgetfulness or lack of event planning skills, but the guests are left eating salty goat and not able to go to the washroom as it is “out of order”.
At the same time, we get a glimpse of Dorothy who spends her time writing unsent letters to famous people. I say glimpse because I feel the author could have spent more time on this particular childless lady who we discover to be ambitious, caring, filled with eccentric ideas and craving sex. Not your typical stereotype of a woman over seventy, let’s say.
My only complaint with Rachel Wyatt’s Letters to Omar is that she includes a host of other characters, which pop in and out of the women’s lives, but because they are not properly woven into the narrative, they tend to confuse the reader.
Would I recommend this book? Absolutely, but maybe I’m biased… not only is the story set in Toronto (a city I lived in for 7 years) but it also deals with quirky and endearing elderly women.
Deep down, I truly hope I end up that way when I reach seventy….